Tracking The Winter Changes Ahead

Good afternoon, gang. The midday update is running a little behind normal, but the weather was just too darn nice outside not to enjoy some of it. 🙂 I hope you get the chance to get outside because things are changing this week. It’s been a well advertised pattern change and we are now just a few days away from it happening.

I don’t have any real changes on the first system working across the state Monday night into Tuesday. Showers and thunderstorms and gusty winds will be along and ahead of this boundary.

Several days ago, the models were developing a wave of low pressure along this front as it slides into eastern Kentucky. The NAM is back to showing that happening, allowing for a period of light snow Tuesday night…

Some of the Short Range Ensemble Forecast members are also showing this…

Right now, I don’t see much support for what the NAM is showing. I will still go with the potential for a few flakes across far eastern Kentucky as the precipitation shield moves away.

Cold northwesterly winds take control for Wednesday into Thursday. Some light snow and flurries can fly by the time Thursday rolls around.

From there, it’s all about a potent upper level system diving in here from the northwest Friday and Saturday. The GFS continues to show this very well at 500mb…

The 6z run…

12z run…

That upper level setup would bring a heck of a clipper across our region, wrapping up as it moves through here..

6z GFS

12z GFS

I’ve said it many times in the past week, but the GFS has been pretty darn consistent with this system and the overall pattern. As shown on the above, it would be a snowmaker across much of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.

Gusty winds combine with arctic air coming in behind that to produce wind chills that threaten to go below zero.

Saturday morning

Saturday Night

Additional clippers and arctic shots dive in here as we head into the following week, but I’m really trying to focus on everything going on for the week ahead. It’s a busy one and gives us a lot to track. 🙂

I mentioned earlier how the European Model has been inconsistent with the upcoming week. The issues arise from a well known bias of the model in holding too much energy back in the southwestern US. It’s doing just that with the initial trough ejecting from the southwest over the next few days.

Here’s the European Model forecast at 500mb for this Wednesday…

Notice the closed upper low off the California coast. That forces the ridge overtop it to become more rounded, thus pushing the trough ahead of it too far east and keeping it a little more progressive.

Compare all that to the GFS forecast at the same exact time…

The differences are subtle, yet substantial for going forward. Look at how much weaker and farther east the system is in the southwestern part of the country. Then look at the ridge axis along the west coast and notice how it Is much sharper and less rounded than the European ridge. That sharp ridge allows energy to dig more as it dives through the base of the trough to the east.

Both solutions give us the potential for accumulating light snows later this week into the weekend, but the GFS allows for a deeper scenario.

Once the European sheds that bias, you will likely see changes in how it handles the rest of the week.

Folks, this is why I don’t just regurgitate what models say. I try to look inside each model to see why they say what they say. Sometimes they tell me, sometimes they don’t. I’m glad the Euro is a talker. 🙂

I will have another update later this evening. Have a good one and take care.


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5 Responses to Tracking The Winter Changes Ahead

  1. Rodger in Dodger says:

    Perhaps the best upcoming ten-day period of winter weather that we’ve seen in awhile in these parts — Rodger just hopes we can get some appreciable snow to occur. Regardless, thank you Mr Bailey for all you do to keep us weather weenies informed. This is Rodger in Dodger

  2. Schroeder says:

    Thanks Chris for your continuing updates. I just hope that we have enough moisture to produce a good soaking rain. Any snow accumulations look minimal at the present for my county. The trough seems to be a little too far east. I remember back in December 2004, the trough was west of us and went deep into Texas. We were in the trough, but on the eastern up swing. This brought moisture from the Gulf along it’s edge and develop into a major snowstorm for western Kentucky up into Indiana for a beautiful White Christmas. I have lived in Kentucky for ten years now and have yet to see snow on the ground on Christmas Day. I was hoping we would this year. Good news there is still time for that to happen. All snow lovers lets hope.

    • Bjenks says:

      2004……..I would take a repeat, but without all the sleet.
      Louisville had 4 inches of snow followed by 6-7 inches of sleet and another 2 inches of snow to end. Parts of Southern IN. Had over 30 inches of snow. Remember that storm very well.

  3. TennMark says:

    Thanks, Chris!

    At least at this time, the severe wx threat for early this week – which was already minimal – is looking even less likely for our area according to the SPC. Although I share CB’s concern about a possible early start to the 2018 spring severe wx season. There is plenty of time to fine tune the spring outlook.

    Even though I am a warm weather person, I would not mind a White Christmas. Brings back memories of Christmas 2010 which had such pretty white scenery yet wasn’t overly disruptive (at least not in southern KY and in Tennessee as the roads were often relatively clear).

    However, even a White Christmas at times can be a bit too much of a good thing. Just ask the good folks of Little Rock 😉 when Christmas 2012 dumped a foot of wet heavy snow which crippled traffic and brought down many trees, limbs and power lines.

  4. Mike says:

    Thinking of “White Christmas”… The only snow on the ground for Christmas I have seen was 2003, we were visiting that year and moved here the following summer.

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